That stunk. The Yankees fell to the Diamondbacks, 4-2. JA Happ finally put together a respectable performance, but his offense couldn’t support him. To make it worse, Luke Voit departed because of a core injury suffered during the game. Hopefully, good news comes from tonight’s MRI. We’ll probably know more tomorrow. Now, let’s move to the takeaways:
Seeking a positive: JA Happ’s velocity has ticked up a notch. I didn’t notice this last time out, probably because I was busy grumbling about Happ allowing six runs in 3.1 innings, but Happ’s average fastball gained a mile per hour. Instead of his requisite 92.3 four-seamer, he averaged 93.3. He averaged 92.7 tonight.
Maybe it’s just that the Twins are really good or the Diamondbacks aren’t, but perhaps Happ benefited from added velocity tonight. The southpaw delivered the bare minimum to snag a quality start: six innings tossed and three runs allowed. That being said, he did scatter eight hits, so maybe a better team would have knocked him out earlier.
All things considered, you have to be satisfied with this performance. In fact, I was surprised that Happ managed to throw clean fifth and sixth innings. After the fourth, I thought Happ was toast. Arizona knocked him around that inning:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Happ started to run into a lot of trouble at that time. Not only did Christian Walker greet him with a laser homer to the short porch, but Happ’s numbers really deteriorate after three innings.
And yet, he recovered in his final two innings of work. A solid outing overall. More of that please.
A few missed opportunities, injuries, and a slump hurt the offense tonight. The Yankees had a number of chances against Arizona rookie starter Taylor Clarke. In order by inning:
- With two on and two out in the first, Didi Gregorius lined out to right to end the inning.
- Gio Urshela was caught stealing after a one out single in the second frame. In all fairness, Carson Kelly made a great play on a ball in the dirt.
- Luke Voit struck out to end the third inning with two runners aboard.
Clarke settled down and retired seven straight, from the Voit punchout through the bottom of the fifth. It could have been eight straight had Adam Jones not misplayed Aaron Judge’s liner to lead off the sixth inning. Finally, the Bombers offense came through thereafter as Edwin Encarnación notched the team’s first hit with runners in scoring position. His double drove in Judge to make it 3-1.
The only other Yankees run came in the bottom of the eight when Tyler Wade surprisingly did this:
Good for him. He’s been pitiful in his short major league career despite strong numbers in Triple-A.
Aside from missing Gary Sánchez, Giancarlo Stanton, and now potentially Luke Voit, the Yankees haven’t gotten much from Judge lately.
Through seven innings tonight, Aaron Judge has gone 1-for-22 since the start of the series at Fenway. He was mere inches in the seventh-inning at-bat from collecting a double down the third-base line. Instead, he’s still struggling to collect hits.— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) July 31, 2019
Judge moved that to 1-for-23 with a strikeout in the eighth. The good news was his the sixth inning two-base error by Jones, was a scalding liner (113 MPH) that was a tough play for the former Oriole. Still, this offense needs him to get back on track given the litany of injuries.
The Cessa decision. After Happ’s night was done, Aaron Boone summoned Luis Cessa down just two runs. With Arizona’s 9-1-2 hitters coming up in a close game, this seemed like a peculiar call after an off day, some distance from Happ, and another off day coming Thursday. Granted, the team’s division lead gives them some margin for error, but it’s not like this game was unwinnable.
When Cessa entered, the Yankees had a 31 percent chance to win. Yes, the game was in Arizona’s favor, but certainly far from over. Promptly, Carson Kelly launched a solo homer to bring the lead to 4-1 and lower the Yankees’ odds to win to 18.7 percent.
Ultimately, going to Cessa didn’t matter as the Yankees only pushed across one more run. On the bright side, he allowed an extra day of rest for the entire bullpen which means it should be all hands on deck tomorrow.
Could Voit’s core injury lead to a trade? As we wait to hear more about Luke Voit’s status, it’s fair to wonder if the Yankees could look to acquire another bat before tomorrow afternoon. I floated Justin Smoak and Derek Dietrich before; both could make some sense. If the team sticks internally, these could be short-term options (in no particular order):
- 1B: Edwin Encarnación, 3B: DJ LeMahieu, DH: Clint Frazier or someone else
- 1B: LeMahieu, 3B: Urshela, DH: Encarnación
- 1B: Mike Ford/Encarnación, 3B: LeMahieu, DH: Ford/Encarnación
Voit had a short injured list stint after suffering an abdominal strain in London, and if it’s a similar injury again, the Yankees will be fortunate to not have him out too long.
The Yankees have already played short for a few days because of LeMahieu’s recent day-to-day status, so even a mildly hurt Voit could force the team to make a roster move in any case.
The Yankees go for the split tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm. They’ll face a tough opponent in Zack Greinke. Hopefully, Masahiro Tanaka recovers from his previous rough outing against Boston. Perhaps before the game or during it, the Yankees will swing a trade or two.